Once again we're at that terrible anniversary, which for us descendants of Western Civilization will always be the greatest contrast of sacrifice for and against, sacred and profane. It is ironic that our one moment of uncynical togetherness was so quickly turned into a political prop, but let's skip that for a minute and concentrate on whatever good came out of it...especially for our New York friends. No matter how worldly New York City is, it's a city notoriously proud of itself, and this abasement before the world is one they should always keep dear with gritted teeth. Sorry to use such a maudlin reference, but when I think of New Yorkers I am reminded of the Brooklyn character in "Saving Private Ryan", walking along a row of German prisoners and holding out his Star of David, hissing "Juden, Juden" at them.
These last two years were both very long and nauseously fast, what with the quick havoc unleashed by the bin Ladens and Bushes of the world and the slow grief of losing the most profound monolithic monuments to our ambitions, which to my eyes (and I hope my fellow Los Angelenos will concur) really became everything good and bad about New York. Only two years? The first way to celebrate our mind over matter: This week I'm going to look at buildings, Downtown and everywhere, and honor the shade they've given me over the years. I will always cherish the moment in 1988 that I emerged from Cortlandt Street Station into the shadow of the World Trade Center. Particularly inspiring, and I will walk in that shade someday, should be the new World Trade Center, and so I've enclosed some images (there are links to three more pictures at the top of this window):
On something of a tangent, there's a screening of Elio Petri's "The Tenth Victim" ("La Decima Vittima" for my European friends) this Saturday (13 September 7.30 PM) at LACMA...this movie comes with my highest recommendations, my second way to celebrate mind over matter. And related to the World Trade Center how? The opening of the movie was shot in the area of Downtown New York being demolished for construction of the towers in 1965. Since the extensive collection of photographs of the old neighborhood was destroyed with the buildings, this is a sadly now-rare look at lower Manhattan pre-World Trade Center. It's also a great movie to lift the spirits: a comedy (yes) with Marcello Mastroianni and Ursula Andress as two contestants in "The Big Hunt", a future kill-or-be-killed game show. Besides the perfectly balanced romantic Italian sarcasm, it's also an apex of vinyl 1960s Italian fashion and music:
And another very wise way to celebrate mind over matter this 11 September (thanks, Hillary):
or the greatest exchange of ideas ever tried
On September 11th 2003 commit a poetic attack and Free a book! Because a book is a symbol of liberty, sharing and tolerance
In the morning of September 11th 2003, don't forget to go out provided of a
book, important for you, write a dedication and free it! Down the road, on a bench, in the subway, in a cafe to the mercy of an unknown reader
And you? Will you free or adopt a book round the corner of your road?
September 11th won't become a funeral anniversary if we turn together this date
into a creative and generous action
This will, unfortunately, have to suffice instead of a real hell of a poetry reading. There is one reading on 11 September in the local area:
"Always Remember/Never Forget" poetry reading by the "Peace Pages" Poets
September 11th from 7-8 pm in the Lobby of the 6565 Sunset building in Hollywood, Donations will be given to The Los Angeles Firefighters Museum Memorial, The Stentorians-African American Firefighters Museum and Poets Against The War . The event is open to the public at no charge.
I've also enclosed my favorite post-11 September joke picture for your perusal.
On to other business...is it my imagination or was that Henry Kissinger being interviewed on "MacNeil/Lehrer" tonight, just before the piece on unrepentant (and now dead) Nazi director Leni Riefenstahl? Someone at PBS has a sick sense of humor...or maybe it's fate that's sick.
In case you'd like to get pissed off this 11 September:
White House Approved Departure of Saudis After Sept. 11, Ex-Aide Says
By Eric Lichtblau
New york Times
It should come as little surprise that radical Wahhabi sect Sunnis from Saudi Arabia are plying their trade against their old foes, the Shi'ites, in southern Iraq. But the Saudis are our friends, natch.
To hell with these oil-mad greedy scum:
Bush's Men Tried To Gag Me, Claims Gen Clark
By Toby Harnden
Telegraph Group Limited
And all their lies about their war on terror:
The Blind Prophet
Before the war, President Bush told us Iraq was a throbbing hub of terror. It wasn't, of course. But it is now
Tuesday September 02 2003
We've wasted all the sympathy that almost 3000 people died uselessly for:
Europeans' doubt over U.S. policy rises
By Thomas Crampton/IHT
But our greedy, pleasure-seeking bourgeois Western ways will bond us all together again better than any politics:
The U.S. and Europe: Rebuild the Atlantic alliance to face new threats
By Ronald D. Asmus
And finally...why I might need a new career:
Librarians Protest New Shushing Action Figure
Vive le Screed!
10 September 2003